Ryan's Journal

"My life amounts to no more than one drop in a limitless ocean. Yet what is any ocean, but a multitude of drops?" — David Mitchell

Safety Stops with Batfish

Posted from Ribbon Reef, Great Barrier Reef at 5:37 am, June 2nd, 2024

Today is the day where everyone doing the three day trip departs and those doing the four day trip embark, so after a 6:30 wakeup and a walk on Lizard Island we only had three dives on the schedule. Under any other circumstances three dives in one day would seem like a lot, but compared to the past two days (and the next three), today felt downright leisurely. Also – and it hurts my soul to write this – I was extremely glad for a bit of downtime to catch my breath.

All but three other passengers left at Lizard Island and a new group joined, but we’ve gone from 24 people on the boat to just 12, so there’s more room at meals and the dive deck has gone from crowded to feeling like we’ve got our own private dressing rooms. Our first two dives today were good ones, with minimal current, tons of pretty coral, and lots of neat marine life ranging from large groupers to big barracuda to teeny pipefish. We spent a ton of time in the shallows on the second dive, with amazingly colorful corals, pretty starfish, innumerable reef fish, and a billion other things that I’m not capable of identifying. During our return to the boat Audrey also found the world’s friendliest batfish; the two foot long fish hung out with her while we did a safety stop (photo below).

We had high hopes for this evening’s night dive since the one two days ago was so great, but Audrey’s light died pretty early into the dive – it turns out that diving at night is less fun when you can’t see – so we shared my light and I served as her seeing-eye buddy for the dive. It was still neat having so many fish around, but it’s not quite as easy to relax on a dive when you’re also trying to make sure that your partner of nineteen wonderful years doesn’t accidentally swim headfirst into the reef.

Tonight we’re expecting a somewhat rough crossing from the Great Barrier Reef into the Coral Sea, then if we’re lucky and conditions are good, tomorrow should be an action-packed day of diving in a pretty special place.

Batfish, Great Barrier Reef

The world’s friendliest batfish and Audrey during our end-of-dive safety stop (Audrey is the one holding onto the mooring line).

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